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Leftover Tortilla Chips Black Bean Chilaquiles

This easy black bean chilaquiles recipe uses leftover tortilla chips. It’s a quick breakfast or dinner idea that can be served with toppings like pico, cheese and diced avocado.

Black bean chilaquiles in a red pan with avocado and cheese

An Easy Black Bean Chilaquiles Recipe

We all have habits we learned from our parents that, for better or worse, are just part of who we are. For example, one day I realized that, like my father, I now walk around the house turning off lights and stubbornly keep the thermostat lower than my kid wants it be. Like my mother, I obsessively save food scraps for the chickens and treat the sourdough starter in the fridge like a little pet. (My precious.) I’m sure my family believes I’m well on my way to becoming a crazy old lady… and they’re not wrong. But I’m cool with it.

One of my favorite habits? Using up odds and ends in recipes. That’s where these chilaquiles come in. They do a marvelous job of turning stale tortilla chips into a hearty breakfast or dinner. My family loves making nachos or snacking on chips with a bit of salsa and guacamole. Inevitably there ends up being half filled chip bags in the pantry that are past snacking condition – but perfect for chilaquiles.

Black bean chilaquiles on a plate with avocado, salsa and cheese

What Are Chilaquiles?

Chilaquiles are a traditional Mexican dish that dates back to the Aztecs. The word “chilaquiles” (chee-lah-kee-lehs) is based upon the word “chīlāquilitl” which means “chili water and greens” in Nahuatl. Chilaquiles are made with fried tortilla pieces that are cooked in sauce until the tortillas absorb the flavor and soften up a bit. Then they are served with toppings like cheese, sour cream, salsa fresca, pico de gallo or even pieces of cooked meat. Depending on what you add to your chilaquiles, they can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Black bean chilaquiles in a red pan with avocado, cheese, sour cream and limes.

To make chilaquiles my mother would usually tear tortillas into pieces, toss them with some olive oil and salt, then bake them in the oven. I take the simpler route and use leftover tortilla chips, since we usually have those on hand, but you can also make the chips if you prefer.

To make your tortilla chips from scratch: Just cut corn tortillas into triangles, toss with some olive oil and salt, then bake the tortilla pieces at 350F for 12-15 minutes until they are as crispy as you want them to be.

Make the Pico First

If you are going to make the pico for this recipe (which I highly recommend), then put it together before you start making your chilaquiles. This will give the ingredients time to marinate a bit. This is not a true pico de gallo because it doesn’t have jalapeños in it (my kids don’t like them), but you can definitely add a seeded and finely minced jalapeño to this mix.

Ingredients

See the recipe card at the bottom of this post for specific amounts.

  • Red onion
  • Roma tomato – A small regular tomato works too
  • A lime & fresh cilantro
  • Kosher salt and pepper – To taste

To Make the Pico

Combine the diced onion and tomato in a small bowl. Add the cilantro, a squeeze of lime juice. Add a generous pinch of kosher salt and a pinch of black pepper to tasted. Set aside.

Chilaquiles Ingredients

Here is what you will need to make these black bean chilaquiles. I’m including some notes on substitutions too. Be sure to read the recipe card at the bottom of this post for specific amounts.

  • 60 white corn tortilla chips – I like to use Mi Nina White Corn Tortilla Chips. Don’t use chips that are overly salted.
  • Olive oil – For cooking the onion, I usually use extra virgin.
  • Yellow onion – You can also use white or red onion.
  • Garlic cloves – The more the better. I usually use 5-6 cloves.
  • Chipotle chilis in adobo sauce – You can buy cans of these at the market, usually in the Mexican cooking section. They are also available on Amazon.
  • Canned black beans – I have also used canned pinto beans.
  • Kosher salt
  • Sour cream & Milk – These are an optional garnish. A bit of milk is mixed into the sour cream so that it is easy to drizzle onto the chilaquiles. You could easily just use plain sour cream without using the milk.
  • Avocado & lime – Diced avocado is gently tossed with lime juice and served on top of the chilaquiles. You can use a fresh lime or bottled lime juice.
  • Cheese – If you can find it, queso fresco or queso blanco is so good crumbled on top of these chilaquiles. However, shredded Monterey Jack cheese works well too.

How to Make Chilaquiles with Leftover Tortilla Chips

Ok so let’s make these chilaquiles. This recipe is pretty quick since you are using already made tortilla chips.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it starts to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, chipotle, and adobo sauce and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. 

Add the beans, 1 teaspoon salt, and the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes. The beans should still be a bit soupy but the flavors will have had time to blend together.

Remove the pan from the heat and mash the beans with a potato masher until they form a coarse puree. It’s fine if there are still some whole beans.

Tortilla chips mixed in with mashed black beans in a pan

Bring the beans back to a simmer over medium-low heat. Stir in the chips and cook, stirring often, just until the tortillas soften but still retain some chewiness, about 3 minutes. (If the beans become really thick, thin them with a little water.)

Black bean chilaquiles in a skillet topped with avocado, sour cream and salsa.

While the beans and tortillas are cooking, combine the combine the sour cream and milk in a small bowl mixing well. Dice the avocado and toss it with lime juice in another bowl.

A spoon drizzling sour cream onto chilaquiles.

To serve, spoon the chilaquiles onto plates. Then top them with a drizzle of the thinned sour cream, the diced avocado, pico and your cheese of choice.

Tips & Variation Ideas

  • Add meat: You can mix cooked meat in with your chilaquiles just after the chips have finished cooking in the mashed beans, or you can sprinkle cooked meat on top when serving the chilaquiles. Carne asada or roasted chicken would go really well.
  • Add eggs: Sometimes I will fry up some eggs and serve them on top of a plate of chilaquiles. I usually add the fried eggs before sprinkling the salsa/pico, cheese, avocado and sour cream on top. Serve this way the flavors resemble huevos rancheros, which is one of my favorite breakfasts to make.
  • Use different cheeses: Queso fresco and queso blanco are my favorites, but Monterrey Jack or even a sharp shredded cheddar cheese would go nicely with these chilaquiles.
Chilaquiles on a plate topped with salsa, cheese and avocado.

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

Allow leftovers to come to room temperature, then store your chilaquiles in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. They will reheat nicely in the microwave.

Extra thinned sour cream and pico can also be stored in airtight containers in the fridge for 2-3 days. I do not recommend storing leftover diced avocado since it will brown over time.

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Leftover Tortilla Chips Chilaquiles Recipe

Chilaquiles on a plate topped with salsa, avocado and cheese

This easy black bean chilaquiles recipe uses leftover tortilla chips. It’s a quick breakfast or dinner idea that can be served with toppings like pico, cheese and diced avocado.

  • Author: Rustic Family Recipes
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stove
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Ingredients

Scale

For the Pico:

  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 roma tomato or small tomato, diced
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste

For the Chilaquiles:

  • 60 white corn tortilla chips (I like to use Mi Nina White Corn Tortilla Chips)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 56 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 a large chipotle chili in adobo sauce, minced, with 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  •  2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt

For the Toppings:

  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon low-fat milk
  • 1 medium avocado, halved, pitted, scooped from skin, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 cup queso fresco or queso blanco, crumbled. Shredded Monterey Jack cheese works well too.

 

Instructions

Make the pico:

Combine the diced onion and tomato in a small bowl. Add the cilantro, a squeeze of lime juice. Add a generous pinch of kosher salt and a pinch of black pepper to tasted. Set aside.

Make the chilaquiles: 

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until it starts to become translucent and light golden brown, about 10 minutes. 

Add the garlic, chipotle, and adobo sauce and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. 

Add the rinsed beans, 1 teaspoon salt, and the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the flavors blend, about 10 minutes. The beans will still be a bit soupy.

Remove the skillet from the heat and mash the beans with a potato masher until they form a coarse puree. (It’s fine if there are still some whole beans.)

Put the skillet back on the stove. Bring the beans to a simmer over medium-low heat. Stir in the chips and cook, stirring often, just until the tortillas soften but still retain some chewiness, about 3 minutes. (If the beans become really thick, you can thin them with a little water.)

Make the Toppings

While the beans and tortillas are cooking, mix the sour cream and milk in a small bowl. This will thin the sour cream and make it easier to drizzle. Set aside.

In another small bowl, combine the diced avocado and lime juice. Set aside.

Serve

To serve, spoon the chilaquiles onto plates. Top them with the pico, sour cream, diced avocado and cheese.

Notes

This recipe is slightly adapted from A Year in the Vegetarian Kitchen by Jack Bishop. I changed some of the chilaquiles ingredients and added a homemade pico.

Keywords: chilaquiles mexicanos, breakfast chilaquiles, mexican breakfast

Did you make this recipe?

Please rate the recipe & leave a comment to let me know. 🙂

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